Saturday, September 8, 2007

Older Clarence, Newer Clarence - One Clarence

Most of us were born and raised in Clarence. It can go back even further if our parents, grandparents and so on were also part of the historical fabric. We could have departed the town upon turning 18 and never looked back, or stayed where it is familiar, near family and friends. Or behaved like a yo-yo, leaving and returning, for good or for a visit.

Those who made a conscious decision to move here, rather than it being an accident of birth, tend to see Clarence differently than we do. On the campaign site of Alan Bedenko, he makes this observation:

"Labor Day in Clarence Center is Authentic Americana. It is a Norman Rockwell painting come to life."

I never thought about it that way. I guess when you're busy living it, the picture is too close to be seen with an objective eye. Then again, as the painting by Rockwell shows, sometimes what we see and reality aren't on the same page.

Some of the most enthusiastic boosters of Clarence have no long time history in town. They never knew Clarence when it actually was a rural area. They don't know that the removal of the agricultural exemption for inactive farm land opened the floodgates for subdivisions.

They do know that Clarence is rich in history, and that it should be remembered and celebrated. Working with the Clarence Historical Society they have dusted off parts of ourselves that previously existed only in the archives of what "used to be". Of course, the seniors are richer depositories of life in Clarence than books or documents could ever be.

They have put together various events and associations and groups to draw people together rather than existing in a vacuum. Of course, the Garden Club and Chamber of Commerce and Firemen have been around almost forever, but now there is so much more.

For the anonymous members of "They" - both those with deep Clarence roots and those whose roots are newer - I salute you! Newer Clarence embraces Older Clarence for One Clarence.

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